| The Red Right Hand
Following my scathing review of Fly Me To The Moon: 3D, I received a whole hoard of emails accusing me of reviewing the film as an adult and criticising it to a harsher degree than was deserved. I have no doubts that my praise of this film will incur similar wrathful comments as this is a children's film that I would have enjoyed watching as a child. Yes, it's an animated movie but it's for young viewers/pre-teens, not 'kids' - I hate when parents complain that an animated film is bad because it failed to entertain their small children. Surprisingly enough, I remember somebody writing me, complaining that I had highlighted Persepolis as my favourite animated film of 2007. Their reason being they had rented a copy for their children and were appalled by the 'radical religious and political elements' featured within. Unfortunately, a large majority of parents are stupid and lazy; relying on television and movies to entertain and educate their children and then become angry with the programme/film when they should be scolded for not fully researching the item in the first place!
Overall, I found Igor's plot to be a thoroughly original and captivating one. Many years ago, the small farming town of Malaria was suddenly plagued by constant thunderstorms which have been present ever since. With their livelihood ruined, the king (Jay Leno) came up with the idea of holding an annual evil science fair, to see who can create the most diabolical weapons. Once a winner has been announced, the king would threaten to turn the abominable creation on the world, unless the sum of one hundred million dollars is paid. There are, however, simple rules. The first is that only mad scientists can invent and any unfortunate soul born disfigured or puny in any way is enrolled into Igor School, studying for a life of servitude to their masters. Our lead Igor, voiced by John Cusack, is actually a rather gifted inventor (having already created an automated brain in a jar, named Brian [Sean Hayes] and Scampers, a suicidal bunny cursed with immortality [Buscemi]) whereas his master, Dr. Glickenstein [John Cleese], is not. After one of his experiments goes horribly wrong, Dr. Glickenstein is blown to pieces and Igor must resume his work to save himself from death at the hands of the Igor recycling plant. With the help of his two minions, Igor creates life in the form of a ten foot woman with the mind of an actress, called Eva [Shannon]. Running parallel to Igor's attempts to train Eva is the Dr. Schadenfreude plot thread, which follows a fraudulent mad scientist (voiced by the grossly talented Eddie Izzard) as he continues to steal the other contestant's inventions.
To be honest, this film is aiming for a very esoteric and specific audience. The characters have rather Burton-esque designs and with the king looking the way he does, I wouldn't be surprised if a few outraged Nightmare Before Christmas fans raised their fists in anger. A pet-peeve of mine is the constant release of half-rate CGI films to generate a quick pay cheque but certain special, lower budget animated films, such as this one, still have a great deal of merit. Granted, this film doesn't visually hold a candle to the likes of a Pixar release but the stylised techniques were still a welcome treat.
The question I will probably be asked is why I rated this film so highly. Well, despite some of the idiotic jokes and slapstick (namely spouted by Brain/Brian) there are three saving graces that distance this release from the others. First, we have the cast. Rather than relying on one big name and a bunch of under-experienced c-list actors, Igor employs a whole host of talented individuals to bring its mad cadre to life. Secondly and possibly most importantly, this film contains almost no fart or burp jokes. This alone is an achievement that instantly claws above what passes for kid's entertainment these days. And finally, another heinous offence of modern animated/CGI flicks, the pop culture references are kept to a bare minimum and replaced with humorous homages to classic horror films and stories. All-in-all making this a delightfully original and surprising seasonal release.
17th October 2008
The Scene To Look Out For:
Part of the finally includes a troupe of blind kids singing, "I can see clearly now the rain has gone." I wasn't entirely sure if that was put in for comedic effect or for irony's sake but it just felt a little tasteless - a comment I'm surprised to hear myself thinking.
Steve Buscemi's dry, surly road-kill rabbit, Scampers, was a complete scene stealer and despite the grim nature of his character (continually attempting to commit bunny suicide), he still managed to win over so many in the audience.
"When we die, I'll be sure to come back and give you a nice funeral"
In A Few Words:
"Not nearly the best in its genre but certainly an entertaining family Halloween release"